Central America News

Latin America Program in the News: U.S. on more equal footing with neighbors as Obama heads to Summit of the Americas

Apr 13, 2012
President Obama travels to a weekend summit of the hemisphere’s leaders Friday as the head of a nation that remains in many ways the economic envy of its closest neighbors, but also one whose influence is on the wane in a rising region...

Latin American Program in the News: Gorilla in the Room: Guatemala Takes the Lead

Apr 12, 2012
Just what that means in practice is harder to say. For a deeper understanding of how Guatemala sees itself within the debate, we turn to Guatemalan Secretary of Planning Fernando Carrera. Carrera is the man who many say is the architect of Perez's proposals on drug-related issues. He recently gave a talk at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars entitled "Drug Policy and Democracy in Central America: A View From Guatemala," that provides a crucial insight into how Guatemala is positioning itself in the ever-turbulent discourse on drug legalization

Latin American Program in the News: Americas summit host, Colombian President Santos, ambitious for wider clout as regional leader

Apr 12, 2012
As the date of the Americas Summit comes closer, the leadership role of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the region, has been under deep scrutiny. Dr. Arnson says that Santos "has adopted a much more pragmatic and distant approach".

Latin American Program in the News: Guatemala: capturan presunto jefe narco buscado en EEUU

Apr 06, 2012
On Tuesday Authorities captured alleged drug lord Guatemalan Horst Walther Overdick. “His capture is certainly a welcome development, but its impact on drug trafficking in Guatemala or levels of violence overall remains to be seen. In Mexico, the strategy of going after drug kingpins has been one of the factors contributing to the rise in violence,” Director of the Latin America Program Cynthia Arnson told the Associated press. [Original Article in Spanish]

Transnational Crime: The Americas’ Leading Security Threat

Mar 29, 2012
Aiding regional governments with intelligence and training, air and sea patrols, and guiding the interagency process are essential to beating organized crime. SOUTHCOM Commander Douglas M. Fraser discusses strategies to dismantle extortion, kidnapping, and drug-running bands.

Latin American Program in the News: How to help El Salvador rebuild

Mar 20, 2012
Director Cynthia J. Arnson comments on the importance of remittances and creation of productive capacity in El Salvador.

Latin American Program in the News: Pérez, abierto a la legalización

Feb 14, 2012
Otto Perez Molina will likely propose drug legalization at the next summit of regional leaders. Dr. Cynthia Arnson, Director of the Latin American Program, discusses how the initiative comes in response to the frustration over the current drug policy that has defined the region over the past few decades. She argues that even though it may not be implemented, it is a message that is icreasingly becoming part of the discussion in the region. [Article is in Spanish]

Latin American Program on the News: After 20 years of peace, Salvadorans in D.C. still worry about their homeland

Jan 23, 2012
Cynthia J. Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, said Salvadoran expatriates play a critical role by sending remittances home, but that is not enough. El Salvador needs people to help build the economy and provide education and job opportunities to keep people out of gangs, she said. “As important as the remittances are to subsidize consumption, [it] is not the same as creating productive capacity, and there is a huge role for the Salvadoran community living in the United States and other countries to contribute to their homeland by creating economic opportunity,” Arnson said. “It is a vicious cycle and, unless people who are in a position to provide capital for the economic growth and job creation [also provide help], it is very hard to see how the country will ever break this cycle.”

Latin American Program in the News: New Guatemala president wants to regain US military aid

Jan 12, 2012
Many in the U.S. are taking a wait-and-see approach to Perez given his military background. President Barack Obama took two weeks to congratulate Perez on his November election victory, something some read as a chilly sign. "They want to sort of say, look, we're prepared to cooperate, but it depends on who is in the government, what priorities they have," said Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin America program at the Wilson Center in Washington. "It doesn't come with a free ride."

Follow the Money: Drug Crime, Money Laundering, and Regional Security in Central America

Nov 17, 2011
Newly elected President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina promised a crackdown on crime and drug-related violence but faces rampant corruption and one of the lowest tax bases in the hemisphere. An exclusive interview with former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein about the challenges ahead for his country and its President.

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